Kauffman Foundation to Host First Fail Night on February 26

Open-mic event to empower KC startups to share business failures, lessons learned

Media Contact:
Barb Schulte, 816-932-1103; bschulte@kauffman.org, Kauffman Foundation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Feb. 17, 2014) – It’s no secret that people are more willing to share their successes than failures, but lessons learned and pivots made in failed businesses can provide valuable insights to entrepreneurs. Extracting such insights from Kansas City founders with a failure or two in their business backgrounds is the goal of the first Fail Night, hosted by the Kauffman Foundation on the evening of Feb. 26.

“We want members of Kansas City’s startup community to feel it’s OK to talk about business failures because it’s well-documented that far more businesses fail than succeed,” said Nathan Kurtz, entrepreneurship manager at Kauffman, who bills the event as a “somber, supportive and celebratory meeting.”

Kurtz will practice what he preaches. He and Kauffman senior fellow Diana Kander, former business partners, will be the first to speak, sharing the incorrect assumptions that led to the demise of their own startup, Legal Sonar, in May 2012. Their venture aimed to connect consumers with attorneys via social connections.  

The Feb. 26 event will run from 6 to 8 p.m. and feature an “open mic” format. Founders willing to share their stories of failed or failing ventures will be asked to share key aspects of their business models, including target customers, problem identification, solutions and core assumptions.

“We see this forum as an opportunity to give closure to some founders who haven’t talked about their failures, while helping current startups avoid similar pitfalls,” Kurtz said.

Kauffman got the idea for Fail Night from entrepreneurs in Des Moines, Iowa, who hosted a similar event at 1 Million Cups during Global Entrepreneurship Week last November.

Fail Night will be held in Kauffman Labs at the Foundation, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Mo., 64110.

Attendance at the event is limited to 100. Register to attend here >